The session discusses the potential of African regional markets. The session highlights successes from SMEs and Smallholders.
Innovations Session N°9
The way forward
Achieving gender equality and empowering women in agriculture is crucial for agricultural development and food security and can contribute to lessen gender gap, boost per capita income growth, and generally reduce poverty. Policy interventions can help close the gender gap in agriculture and rural labour markets. Governments, the international community and civil society should work together to eliminate discrimination, promote equal access to resources and opportunities, and make women’s voices heard as equal partners for sustainable development.
Rural women increasingly run their own enterprises, yet their entrepreneurial potential remain largely unrecognised and untapped. Enabling gender responsive policies, services and business environments are crucial to stimulate the start-up and upgrading of women’s businesses and thereby help generate decent and productive work.
Women’s economic empowerment also means voice and representation in decision-making, participation in policy and institutional change processes and strong business networks. Training and skills upgrading are needed to strengthen women entrepreneurs’ business management, marketing and technical skills, with an emphasis on growth sectors, green technologies and safe and sustainable farming and agro-processing practices (standards, safety measures). It will contribute to upgrade clusters/sectors to support the transition of women-led enterprises from informal to formal status as well. More investments need to be done on strengthening data collection and analysis efforts to better understand and address the constraints that women farmers face in specific value chains.
Key points for discussion on promoting women-led SMEs and businesses
- What are the drivers of success of women-led SMEs in the agrifood sector: what innovations, technologies, knowledge and finance do they attract and need?
- How to upscale women-led investments and rural women enterprises?
- What incentives can be provided to attract and retain women-led SMEs and smallholders in value-addition in local and export markets?
Join our Agrinnovators community forum to discuss and explore how to encourage innovations across agricultural value chains to transform food systems in Africa, promote sustainable agriculture, and leverage investment. Share insights, ask questions, and collaborate on innovative solutions for a greener future
CO-FOUNDER & CEO, AMAATI GROUP, GHANA
Salma Abdulai is the Co-Founder and CEO of AMAATI Company limited, a Ghanian company created in 2013 which processes and distributes fonio, a nutritious and climate resistant indigenous cereal, on both the local and export market. Salma’s engagement to make AMAATI CO. Ltd profitable reflects her experience and passion for agriculture and social consciousness.
Salma holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Ghana, and a Master of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah’ University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. She has ten years of experience working on different projects with international non-profit organisations. Her extensive experience in the agriculture sector is particularly focused on working with small scale rural farmers and women groups across Africa.
HEAD OF NETWORKS AND ALLIANCES, COLEACP
Isolina Boto is the Head of Networks and Alliances at COLEACP, a non-profit Association of private sector operators in the agrifood sector active in the EU, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) regions. Isolina has more than 25 years of experience in agricultural development. She started her career with the European Commission and has also worked with various ACP embassies and NGOs in areas related to food security, rural development and trade. Before joining COLEACP, she was the Manager of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) Brussels Office (2004-2020) implementing policy initiatives related to the ACP-EU cooperation in the field of agricultural and rural development. She has led agribusiness projects in support of capacity development of SMEs, entrepreneurs and farmers organisations across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
CEO, AGRO BIBI, DRC AND MEMBER OF YPARD DRC
Annie Kamala is an agricultural engineer and the CEO of AGRO BIBI, a company producing and processing fruit, cereals, cocoa and vanilla in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Pursuing at the same time her academic career, Annie also works as a researcher in agronomic sciences at the Official University of Semuliki (UOS Beni), DRC, since 2019.
As an engaged women, Annie is an active member within YPARD (an international movement by Young Professionals for Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) DRC and has, since 2019, been in charge of building the capacities of young people in agroecology, agriculture, gender issues, as well as the processing of agricultural products. She is also the Ambassador for the education of young girls in Africa at the African Union International Centre for the Education of Girls and Women in Africa (AU/CIEFFA) since November 2019. Moreover, she coordinates activities about the empowerment of women and protection of children’s rights for the association CHARITY since July 2019. She worked as a gender consultant supporting Congolese women for peace from 2018 to 2021.
Annie holds a Bachelor’s degree in agronomy from the University of Kinshasa, DRC, and a Master’s degree in management of renewable natural resources, flora and fauna department from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Bukavu Catholic University, DRC.
GAËLLE LAURA KENFACK
FOUNDER, KENZA MARKET, CAMEROON
Gaëlle Laura Zambou Kenfack is a Cameroonian entrepreneur and the founder of KENZA MARKET, a company specialising in the processing and distribution of pre-cooked, dried, organic and dietetic products and ingredients (fruit, vegetables, spices, vegetable oils, poultry etc.) to quickly prepare healthy meals. The company which was founded in 2016 is one of the pioneers that produces and markets local products from Cameroon, first only online, then in physical stores. In 2017, Gaëlle expanded her business by investing the beauty sector and launching the beauty salon Kenza Beauty in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Gaëlle is a graduated telecommunications enginee, from the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany. She worked as a consultant for the car industry at BMW in Germany for ten years before creating KENZA MARKET.
GENERAL DELEGATE, COLEACP
Jeremy Knops holds a Master’s degree in Business Engineering from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM). Prior to joining COLEACP in 2009, he was involved in Guatemala with the daily operations of a farmers’ cooperative exporting loquats to the EU and the US. He started to work for COLEACP as an expert in charge of matters related to private standards and certification for ACP producers and exporters of fruit and vegetables. Jeremy is an accredited coach for leadership and professional development. He has been appointed as General Delegate of COLEACP in June 2019.
DIRECTOR, MIYONGA FRESH GREENS ENT, KENYA
Yvonne Otieno is the director of Miyonga Fresh Greens ENT, a Kenyan company established in 2014 exporting fresh fruit and vegetables to the regional market and the EU. Miyonga Fresh Greens ENT has developed a network over 5000 smallholders out farmers in Kenya and supports smallholder farmers to reduce food waste and won four awards: Sinapis Business Plan Competition at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2014, Gender in Innovation in Agriculture Award 2016, Social Impact Award in Nairobi Innovation week 2017 and was selected among the Top 50 innovators in Africa at the Africa Innovation Summit 2018.
Yvonne’s focus is to improve the food security in Africa through reduction of food waste and empowering youth and women in agribusiness. She first worked as a journalist on radio and newspaper but soon decided to use communication to help communities make informed decisions. Thus, she worked over 16 years as a development communication specialist in international organisations. She still fulfils short-term communication consultancy assignments which contribute to make a better Africa.
Kolyang Palebele is an agro-breeder and expert in rural and community development of Chadian nationality, born on 24 November 1964 in Gamba/Fianga in the department of Mayo-Kebbi East.
Kolyang Palebele is the President of the Chadian National Consultation Council of Rural Producers (CNCPRT) and Advisor to the Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Council (CESC) in Chad. He is also the President of the Regional Platform of Farmers’ Organisations in Central Africa (PROPAC) and the President of the Board of Directors of the Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO).
PROJECT MANAGER, SHETRADES WEST AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE (ITC)
Anna Summer is an impact-driven development practitioner and project manager with expertise in developing sustainable agricultural value chains. She has close to ten years combined experience in women’s economic empowerment, agribusiness development and private sector collaborations. In her current role she manages the SheTrades West Africa project at the International Trade Centre (ITC), in Geneva, Switzerland, contributing to improved livelihoods of 10,000 women in agricultural value chains and working with the private sector to empower women in agribusinesses and increase their benefit from trade. Anna previously held positions at Fairtrade Africa, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and with GIZ in Ethiopia where she facilitated international market linkages for smallholder farmers through Public Private Partnerships.
Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Cultural Anthropology, and a Master of Science in International Development and Management from Lund University, Sweeden, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains from the University of Cambridge, England.
FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, FRUITALES, SENEGAL
Marie-Andrée Tall is the founder and CEO of Fruitales, a company created in 2005 that processes local fruit and vegetables into purees, jams and syrups for the local and international market.
After teaching philosophy for more than ten years in high schools in Dakar, Senegal, Marie-Andrée obtained an MBA from the African Center for Advanced Studies in Management (Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion, CESAG) and held executive positions in two industrial companies in the fishing sector.
Marie-Andrée is a committed entrepreneur and founded the Africa Agro Export Association (AAFEX) which brings together African entrepreneurs to capitalize on their efforts and so enable companies to be more competitive and export successfully. She has been its chairman from 2002 to 2014, as well as a member of the Scientific Council of FARM (Foundation for World Agriculture and Rural Life).
In 2010, Marie-Andrée was the first recipient of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) initiated by Hillary Clinton. She also received the title of Knight of the French Order of Agricultural Merit in December 2012.
DENYSE K. UWERA
AGRICULTURAL BRANDING CONSULTANT AND PHOTOGRAPHER, RWANDA
Denyse is an agricultural branding consultant and photographer based in Kigali, Rwanda. Using storytelling and communication design skills, she develops creative and strategic solutions that connect a concept with the audience and strengthen brands. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Denyse worked for renowned creative agencies in the East African region and internationally. She is passionate about work that contribute to social and economy change focusing on agriculture sector in her country. Since 2017, Denyse has been working closely with local coffee farmers’ cooperatives, international coffee enterprises, and various development organizations in agricultural sector. She strongly believes in the power and dignity that lies in African women owning and telling their own stories. Hence, she authored “Strong Women Behind a Strong Coffee” a coffee table book that highlights women role in Rwandan coffee sector.
Denyse holds a Bachelor of Science in Creative Design from the National University of Rwanda.
ACTING CEO, PAFO
Emmerance Tuyishime is currently the acting CEO of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO). She has several years of experience working with local farmers’ organizations and with PAFO, and has gained a lot of experience in international programs related to agriculture and cooperative development.
On top of her position, Emmerance is a members of the cassava producers cooperative RCC and is passionate with improving the living conditions in rural communities.
Emmerance was born and raised as a family farmer in rural communities of Rwanda. She holds a Masters in Project Management from Rome Business School, Italy, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Rwanda.
Recent Innovations Sessions
Niche markets offer business opportunities for farmers who produce commodities different from global products and focus on a specific segment of customers who are willing to pay a premium price for...
Technological innovations in the agrifood sector